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Winner of the Library Journal Award for Best Print Reference in the Humanities for 2015.

An in-depth, comprehensive reference work that covers the cultural history of biblical texts, themes, characters, images, and the Bible itself in the literary, visual, and musical arts. Appearing in response to the shifting landscape of biblical studies over the last decade, it embraces the broadest possible definition of "interpretation," one that includes a cultural-historical perspective. Entries are organized primarily according to specific literary, visual, and musical artists, types of works, and periods (e.g., Mozart, Shakespeare, Children's Bibles, Early Christian Art), revealing how the Bible figures in each.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and the Arts distinguishes itself as the superior reference by providing substantively longer, in-depth articles written not only by leading biblical scholars, but also by prominent scholars in the various fields of art in which the Bible figures, and including information on each subject as well as on the history of the scholarly research concerning that subject; by following a topical organization based on a cultural-historical rather than a reception-historical perspective; and through its integration into a larger suite of reference works from Oxford University Press that will be the go-to digital (through Oxford Biblical Studies Online) and print resources for biblical studies.

 

 

The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book. Click to learn more or buy.

The Rise and Fall of the Bible: The Unexpected History of an Accidental Book. Click to learn more or buy.

“This amazing book will make you see the scriptures in a new light ... Thou shalt read Beal.”       - A.J. Jacobs                              

“An engrossing and excellent work, highly recommended.”             - Publishers Weekly

“[Beal] exhorts readers to see the Bible not as a book of finite answers but as a crucible of questions that provoke, inspire, and even anger those who pick it up. The same might be said about his own book.”     - Booklist

“… a new and insightful way to approach the ‘sacred text'"               - John Shelby Spong

“Under Beal’s instruction, we will lose some of our naiveté, but we’ll gain maturity of insight that will more than compensate. A needed book from a talented writer.”  - Brian McLaren

“Part autobiography, part social scientific research, part shrewd discernment, part theological interpretation … a zinger of a book”              - Walter Brueggemann



Biblical Literacy: The Essential Bible Stories Everyone Needs to Know. Click to learn more or buy.

Biblical Literacy: The Essential Bible Stories Everyone Needs to Know. Click to learn more or buy.

“The Bible … is a locked treasure for those unfamiliar with the Scriptures … Beal offers a key with his accessible guide.”  Cleveland Plain Dealer

“With skill and insight, Timothy Beal has given us a great gift: a lucid and engaging introduction to the most important book ever published.”  - Jon Meacham, author of American Lion, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

In the tradition of Stephen Prothero’s Religious Literacy, and with the deftness of Bill Bryson’s Mother Tongue, Beal's Biblical Literacy is a one-stop course in the Bible passages and background information that everyone needs to know to navigate our nuanced cultural landscape—from devout believers to decided atheists, average citizens to pop-culture aficionados. 

 

 


Reliigion in America: A Very Short Introduction. Click to learn more or buy.

Reliigion in America: A Very Short Introduction. Click to learn more or buy.

 

It's hard to think of a single aspect of American culture, past or present, in which religion has not played a major role. The roles religion plays, moreover, become more bewilderingly complex and diverse every day. For all those who want--whether out of curiosity, necessity, or civic duty--a vivid picture and fuller understanding of the current reality of religion in America, this Very Short Introduction is the go-to book they need.



With visual aids that help readers navigate America's diverse religious landscape, this informative, thoughtful, and provocative book is a must-read in the emerging public conversation concerning religion in America.

 

 

 

 

 


Roadside Religion: In Search of the Sacred, the Strange, and the Substance of Faith. Click to learn more or buy.

Roadside Religion: In Search of the Sacred, the Strange, and the Substance of Faith. Click to learn more or buy.

 

Publishers Weekly's "Best Religion Books of 2005"

New York Times Book Review "Editor's Choice"

Amazon.com’s “Top 10 Editors’ Picks” for Christianity in 2005

Featured on NPR's All Things Considered and The Bob Edwards Show 

"a generous and intelligent guide to some of the most unusual expressions of faith that grace the American landscape" - Body and Soul

"… full of good humor, and Beal doesn't patronize the creators of these attractions but accords them respect and dignity" - Booklist

"... uncovers serious questions about religion and its sometimes highly singular practitioners"                   - Publishers Weekly

 


Religion and Its Monsters. Click to learn more or buy.

Religion and Its MonstersClick to learn more or buy.

An exploration of religion as horror, and of horror as religion. Don't let sleeping Leviathans lie.

Editor's Choice, Reviews in Religion and Theology

Publishers Weekly starred review

"Imaginatively written, entertaining, and well researched, this work of creative scholarship is a fascinating read." - Choice

"This is scholarship in cultural analysis at its best: well-documented, thought-provoking, and funny. Its crisp writing almost fools you into thinking it's simple. But it does what it says: it raises profound questions that survive their answers ... A bravura piece of what binds the cultural disciplines together." - Mieke Bal

"This monstrously provocative book demonstrates that religion is never more fascinating than when it is most disturbing."

                                                 -  Mark C. Taylor



Theory for Religious Studies, co-authored with William E. Deal. Click to learn more or buy.

Theory for Religious Studies, co-authored with William E. Deal. Click to learn more or buy.

rawing on their complementary knowledge of Eastern and Western religious traditions, William Deal and Timothy Beal offer succinct and accessible introductions to key theoretical influences on religious studies since the 1960s. Here is an essential guide to the figures and ideas animating religious studies today.

"Clear, crisp and cogent: all words the reader will use to describe this superb new reference book on contemporary theories and the study of religion.... theory is a way of seeing, of viewing a subject in order to understand. The authors help us to see religion in many new ways by providing overviews of contemporary theories and their usefulness in viewing religion. Undergraduates, graduate students and faculty members will find this an excellent introduction to contemporary theories and to new ways of understanding religion."      

                                              - Rebecca Chopp

 


Berit Olam: Commentary on the book of Esther. Also included: Tod Linafelt's commentary on Ruth. Click to learn more or buy.

Berit Olam: Commentary on the book of Esther. Also included: Tod Linafelt's commentary on Ruth. Click to learn more or buy.

Some ancient works of literature survive in fragments that appear so simple and complete it's hard to imagine them as being part of a larger narrative. Such is the case with Ruth and Esther. On first reading they appear so simple, so whole, and their meanings so completely self-evident. Yet the closer you look, the more perplexing they become. Beal offers that close look, enabling readers to discover the uncertainties of the texts and demonstrating how these uncertainties are not problems to be solved, but rather are integral to the narrative art of these texts. He asks questions without assuming that there must be answers and allows for complexity, perplexity, and the importance of accidents in the text. In essence, Beal emphasizes the particular over the general and the tentative over the continuous; however, he does not altogether dismiss the importance of broader interpretations of Esther, especially those focusing on narrative structure.

 


The Book of Hiding: Gender, Ethnicity, Annihilation, and Esther. Click to learn more or buy.

The Book of Hiding: Gender, Ethnicity, Annihilation, and Esther. Click to learn more or buy.

"Timothy Beal's sensitive interpretation of the enchanting yet disturbing 'Book of Esther' is a gift to students and teachers of Scripture. Though the mystery of the 'hiding' remains intact, the character's emerge in a new light, weaving a story that responds to our need for enchantment." - Elie Wiesel

"A must for all interested in the scroll of Esther, literary study of biblical narrative, and the many ways biblical studies and critical theory might engage each other." - Religious Studies Review

"a splendid exhibit of the new place we are in" 
- Walter Brueggemann

"For those who want to know what difference theory can make to biblical studies, The Book of Hiding is an example of the very best of current work." - Yvonne Sherwood





Mel Gibson's Bible: Religion, Popular Culture, and The Passion of the Christ. Click to learn more and buy.

Mel Gibson's Bible: Religion, Popular Culture, and The Passion of the Christ. Click to learn more and buy.

Whether you're inspired or appalled by Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, there can be no question that it is a defining moment in the cultural afterlife of the Bible. This volume tries to make sense of that moment and will prove to be a touchstone for the film's adherents and detractors alike.

Ideal for college courses on topics related to religion, film, and popular culture, this volume includes accessible and eye-opening essays by leading scholars, including Thomas J.J. Altizer, Bruce Chilton, John Dominic Crossan, Paula Fredriksen, Susannah Heschel, Amy Hollywood, Mark Jordan, Jack Miles, Margaret R. Miles, Richard L. Rubenstein, Jane Schaberg, George Smiga, and Mark C. Taylor, among many others.






Click to learn more or buy.

Click to learn more or buy.

Celebrating the five hundredth volume, this Festschrift honors one of the founders of the Journal of Old Testament Studies and offers essays representing cutting-edge interpretations of David in the Hebrew Bible and later literary and popular culture.

"… clearly focused studies of one biblical icon by a star-studded cast of contributors who by good fortune are friends or colleagues of the “celebrated Festschriftee.” - John F. A. Sawyer

This is no ordinary Festschrift, neither is the person to whom it is dedicated. David Gunn has inspired and mentored generations of biblical scholars, enabling us to navigate our discipline’s sometimes arcane paths with insight and integrity. Imitating David Gunn, this volume combines a depth of insight with a usefulness usually lacking in the Festschrift genre, cohering as the collection does around the figure of the biblical David. This volume celebrates both Davids.       - Gerald West



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Click to learn more or buy.

A tribute to the biblical theology of mentor Walter Brueggemann

"This volume engages the work of Walter Brueggemann by centering on the character of God in the text of the Old Testament as a site of theological tension and even ambivalence. Walter Brueggemann's monumental theology of the Old Testament addresses this fact with great theological insight and rigor, and these internationally renowned biblical scholars engage and extend his insights into the "unsettled Character . . . at the center of the text."

Includes contributions from Phyllis Trible, James Barr, Norman K. Gottwald, Claus Westermann, Rolff Rendtorff, Samuel Terrien, David M. Gunn, and many others, as well as a final essay by Walter Brueggemann himself.





Click to learn more or buy.

Click to learn more or buy.

 

In conversation with critical theory and cultural studies, this collection of essays by leading biblical scholars explores the fraught relations between the Bible and the politics of identity in contemporary society.

"This intelligently conceived collection simultaneously lays hold of the body in the text and the body of the text and refuses to let them go until they have disclosed some of their most unsettling secrets." - Stephen D. Moore

"A break-out book that takes readers to the edges of biblical studies and beyond" - Burke O. Long